The Church at a glance
The Catholic Church looks pretty on the outside but, once you look around for five minutes you find that everything is on fire. Polarization is nothing new to society and is certainly not new to the Church. Ever since Jesus Christ ascended into heaven the leaders and the laity have been at each other’s throats over which direction the Church should go in. Look no further than the book of Acts at the council of Jerusalem where the big argument was do followers Christ need to be circumcised in order to be saved or not, this argument was cleared up, however more came and they haven’t stopped since. The big argument of the day at least in the USA is over politics, more specifically is the Church a conservative one or is the Church a liberal one.
People who are on the left see the world in two ways as Oppressed and Oppressor. The reason people are poor is because there is someone oppressing them and keep them poor. So, when they read the Bible and Church teachings this is what they see, and they are right. It is hard for people to not read the Bible and see that Jesus cared deeply for the poor and suffering. He cured diseases, stood up for a woman caught in adultery who was about to be stoned and he even flipped over tables chased out the money changers at the temple. So, people on the left see the Church as an active participant in the culture. They are the ones on the street demanding justice for people like George Floyd and Breanna Taylor, they are running Catholic Workhouses, visiting homeless encampments, bringing awareness to LGBT issues, and pushing for female leadership in the Church. These are all good things that the church should absolutely be on the front lines of. A reading of Papal encyclicals like Labrem Exercens and Populorum Progressio which deal with labor and class problems in the modern world in Labrem Exercens, in Populorum Progressio deals with borders, migrants and how the industrial world can help the developing world. These are all great things the Catholic left brings to the table.
People on the right see the world in two ways as well those two ways are Order and Disorder. The only way for people to be safe is for good men and women to stand on the wall and keep the hooligans out. Therefore, you find people on the right standing up for the police officers and members of the military. They see the world as a disordered place trying to steal away their children and their faith. People on the right are concerned more about the community inside the church and their social community outside the Church. They love tradition and believe that the Church should take a leadership role in fighting back against problematic aspects of the culture like feminism and LGBT issues. They see organizations like BLM as trying to dismantle the foundations of the world they live in. When they read the Bible, they see Jesus as an authority figure, and this is a true reading of the Bible. Jesus taught with authority just read the Beatitudes for proof of that fact. You also have Apostolic Letter Ordination Sacerotalis which in short not only says that women cannot be priest, but that it is impossible for them to be priest. People on the right are not wrong either, the Church should stand up for the family and push back against the problematic aspects of the culture.
What frustrates me about these two groups is how they are always going at each other’s throats all the time. There is absolutely no need for this. The word Catholic means Universal and it is Universal for a reason. The Church has a place for everyone in its pews. Jesus himself was criticized by the Pharisees and the people for dining with tax collectors, sinners, and people on the fringes of society. The Catholic Church is not a place for the righteous to come and feel good about themselves, the Church is a place for sinners to come and repent. It is a place for all of us to come and share in the Eucharist, to learn, to repent and to be there for each other.